Ellen Ruth Murphy

Ruth was born in 1897 on Sumas Mountain, Abbotsford, B.C. Father Michael immigrated to the U.S.A. from Co. Cork, Ireland and settled on the B.C. side of Sumas, where the old Whatcom Trail crossed the U.S.-Canada border, about 1888. Mother Mary Cleary was born in Prince Edward Island; she lived in Mission, B.C. and was 17 when she married Michael in 1893. The couple started a livery stable and rooming house in Huntingdon. Mary died in 1909. Michael built the Hotel Alexandria and named it for his second daughter.

Ruth attended St. Ann’s Academy, New Westminster. She enrolled in the nursing program at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Victoria, and graduated in April 1918. Ruth worked in Victoria as a nursing sister at the Irving House Convalescent Hospital for Officers. In October she took leave to nurse relatives in Agassiz who were stricken with influenza. While working in that community Ruth succumbed to the disease. She died on November 9, 1918.

The funeral was conducted in Abbotsford on Sunday, November 10, and a memorial service at the St. Joseph’s Hospital chapel in Victoria followed within a week. Ruth’s burial place has not been located.

The Murphy family and relations. Standing: Billy Walters, a family friend, and Ruth’s mother, Mary (Cleary) Murphy. Sitting: Mrs. Dunn, Ruth Murphy and Jim Cleary. Reach Museum, Abbotsford. Cat. No. P4412.

Hotel Alexandria, C Street (now Sumas Way), Abbotsford, 1915. Left to right: the dentist, Ruth Murphy, Mrs. Little, Ruth’s father Michael Murphy, Hormidas Munroe. Reach Museum Cat. No. P433.

Ruth Murphy with Lizzie Turnbull and an unidentified woman (could it be Ruth’s sister Alexandria?) in front of the butcher shop on First Street, Abbotsford.  Reach Museum Cat. No. P1896.

Ruth Murphy in  a milk hand cart on First Street, Lizzy Turnbull seated, Nellie Turnbull in the background.  Reach Museum Cat. No. P1895.

Thanks to the Reach Museum, Abbotsford, for use of photographs in its collections.